Death of Diesel, New Drivers Mean Mazda Has No Place to Hide

Mazda has spent big money trying to find success in the IMSA endurance racing series in recent years. The scrappy Japanese company tried to find a loophole big enough to drive an innovative diesel race car through in 2013, but dropped that idea in 2016 after the diesel failed to meet expectations. For 2018, the team has a clever new gas engine, an all-star driver lineup, and super successful management. In other words: Mazda is out of excuses.

The stunningly beautiful RT24-P Daytona Prototype (DPi) race car will be campaigned by thirteen-times Le Mans-winners (as of this writing) Joest Racing.

After winning four Le Mans victories with Porsche, Reinhold Joest’s team won eleven (11) more times with Audi’s dominant R8 diesel between 2000 and 2014. Joest lost some steam with Audi’s departure from the World Endurance Championship and have been looking for a works deal since, but hope to get up to speed quickly with the Multimatic-built Mazda RT24-P. To help their cause, the team has recently hired 26 year old GT racer Harry Tincknell to join Audi Team Joest factory driver Oliver Jarvis and Mazda regulars Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez. Former DTM drivers champions Rene Rast and Spencer Pigot will also drive at IMSA’s four 24-hour endurance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans.

“Mazda have had a very successful history in the States and Team Joest has won Le Mans 15 times, so it’s a very strong partnership, there’s no weak links,” Tincknell told Motorsport.com. “There’s a going to be a lot of competition, so there’s going to be no hiding place and we’ve got to get up to speed quickly.”

Here’s hoping, anyway. I, for one, would love to see Mazda return its rightful place at the top of the podium in sports car racing. What about you? Check out the crazy good-looking RT24-P for yourself, below, then let us know what you think of the team’s chances in 2018 in the comments at the bottom of the page.

 

Mazda RT24-P DPi Race Car

Sources | Images: Motorsport, Inside Mazda.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.